Monday, August 28, 2017

Something To "Mitch" About


What did I learn this weekend?  Here ya go!

1.  I said the Saskatchewan Roughriders had to show me they could compete with a Western Division foe if I, and many others, were going to take them seriously.  This just in.  You might want to change your mindset.  The question many were asking on Friday night and throughout the weekend was "What was that?" and it was in a good way.  I think some thought the Riders could turn it around and compete with the Eskimos, but did anyone see them coming into "Mike Reilly's house" and taking over with what was a good old fashioned beating.

I don't know about you, but when Reilly fumbled on 3rd and short early in the game, I had an inkling this could be a game that could go Saskatchewan's way. As we saw, it did!  Reilly looked uncomfortable all night long as the Rider defense picked up right where they left off against BC.  When is the last time Rider Nation enjoyed back-to-back decisive wins? It has been a while. Perhaps Chris Jones' team has turned the corner. It took longer than what many of us would have liked, but perhaps they are what we thought they could be with that victory making the upcoming back-to-back against Winnipeg a lot of fun.  

I put it out on Twitter for Winnipeg to bring it, and as expected, it got under the skin of our friends in the Manitoba capital including some Bombers personnel. I don't think they are for real despite their 7-2 record, but they think they are in Winnipeg. They're so cute when they're angry.  The complexion of the West could be a'changin as the end of summer arrives.  The message that was delivered on Friday night was one many noticed and one that didn't surprise some who had said this was coming. 

Get your popcorn ready!

2.  Do Rider receivers bet amongst themselves who is going to come up with the catch of the game?  The "year of the catch" continued with Naaman Roosevelt's first quarter touchdown catch.  When TSN compiles its top catches of the year, Duron Carter's nab against Toronto is still front and center, but the amount of great catches made by Rider pass-grabbers this year has been unreal. One or two if not more are happening every game.

3. I think it is a lock that Willie Jefferson will be named the Riders top defensive player at the end of the season if he stays healthy. The question I have is if the wins continue, how much attention will be paid to Jefferson as arguably the league's best on defense this year.  How many players have had a better year than Willie so far? Charleston Hughes and Odell Willis do come to mind, but Jefferson is right there with them. 

4. When is the last time all 3 Rider QB's dressed for a game had a touchdown. Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge each threw one and Vernon Adams ran one in.  For that matter, when is the last time the Riders had a game where they scored on offence, defence and special teams?

5. Not to beat a dead horse, but why is there a need for someone like Trent Richardson when Cameron Marshall showed again he is more than capable of doing the job. Barring injury, I think the Riders are fine at running back. 

6. Where are the Chris Jones haters now? Is he still wearing too many hats as HC, GM. DC and director of football operations?  

What a difference a couple of weeks make. Yes, it could all blow up again once the Riders are finished with the Bombers, but it may also mushroom in a positive way as well.  There might be some wanting to reserve a spot on the Green Mile if the Riders were to sweep the Bombers.   At the end of the day, the Riders still start this week last in the West, but the woes that have befallen this team after the Darian Durant injury at the 2014 Banjo Bowl may have exited stage right.

7. While many spent their Saturday night watching Mayweather-McGregor, I headed down to the Co-Operators Centre to see the official start of Pats training camp.

Head coach John Paddock watched his troops from the press area of the Co-Operators Centre with a solid crowd checking out the first scrimmage of the year between Team Staniowski and Team Gillies.  When you look at the roster, you see this team isn't close to being where last year's was for obvious reasons with guys like Zborovskiy, Brooks, and Hobbs no longer around.. Nick Henry is still rehabbing an injury suffered in last year's playoffs and Jake Leschyshyn hasn't been cleared yet. Make no doubt though there is a lot of talent on this team and there is good talent coming up as well.

The team could use some size and experience on the back end, but I'm pretty confident Paddock can find what he needs. The question remains though "What about Sam Steel?".  The Anaheim Ducks could care less about the Pats hosting the Memorial Cup and if Steel can help them he will.   It was suggested Saturday night Steel could stick with the Ducks until the World Juniors.  That would not be an ideal situation for a Regina team which could struggle a little in the first half, but be a team to be reckoned with in the second half.  It is going to be a great winter of hockey at the Brandt Centre. There's a lot of excitement in the air, and there should be.

8. I wonder how the Ontario Conference likes playing the PFC. The Thunder went to Hamilton and destroyed the Hurricanes 61-7 while the Ottawa Sooners came to Saskatoon and were beaten 49-15.  Is it safe to say the PFC is a little better than the Ontario league?

9. You can have your McGregor-Mayweather. From all indications, it was better than Pacquiao-Mayweather, and McGregor may have actually made some fans after his performance.  I didn't think Mayweather would take 10 rounds to take down the feisty Irishman.  While I had no interest in that fight, what a fight it was between Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson at the Northern Trust Open. What a final round that was as D-J came from way back to win in a playoff.  Great shots, clutch shots and plenty of drama from the top two players in the world in a duel we rarely see. It was outstanding.

10. Speaking of outstanding.....

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever see Guns N' Roses play in Regina.  I guess that is what a new stadium will do.  What a night at Mosaic! Axl, Slash and crew were unbelievable and I think 98.5 percent of those who were there would agree.  They played all the hits over a three hour time period  and they had everyone engaged and into it...that is except for the guy across the aisle from me who could barely get through the first hour without passing out before he eventually was taken home. You paid how much for that ticket? Hope it was worth it! Dude ,missed out on one of the greatest guitar solos I've ever seen. Slash went for about 5 minutes with a version of "The Godfather" that was the talk of the show as I exited the building.

Let's keep the memories of GNR alive, but lets tear down that stage and make Mosaic into a football stadium again, because we got a game to play Sunday and a big game it is.  Before that, the Rams kick off what should be a great 2017.

Have a great week everyone!


Anonymous said...

Seeing Edmonton get beat is always nice, but seeing them get beat by 23 is real sweet. The West is getting more interesting by the week. Two wins over the Bombers and they might just be a playoff team.

Great concert last night.


Anonymous said...

The World Juniors? The Pats will be sunk if that happens. No Steel, no Brooks(obviously), no Henry. Who is going to score?

truenorthern said...

The comments I keep reading from a wide range of sources complaining about the Riders constantly searching for better players are an example of how our attitudes must change. This is how good teams stay good. We must always be looking for the next player. Our problem in Sask. was that we would get some good players then stop working hard at scouting.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if I thought it was going to be a good night for Riders when Reilly fumbled on 3rd and 1, but I knew the Riders would win when Carter took the blocked PAT back for 2.

If the rebuild was to take a year and a half, it would appear the Jones-haters will be crawling away


Anonymous said...

GNR was fabulous. Who is next? Seemed like the buses getting home was a little bit of a cluster-f### but that doesn't take away from what was a perfect night. Who is next?

Anonymous said...

Riders sent notice to the league. Hope Winnipeg is ready for the next two weeks. The first LDC at new Mosaic will be crazy!


Anonymous said...


I was the guy talkin to you just outside the Harvard lounge at the end of the concert. Thanks for the 2 mins as you looked as if you were rushed. The question I had for you was about the Pats and you sort of answered it here.

Are they big enough on the backend? I haven't seen them yet, but it looks like they need that Hobbs-like guy that they don't have. Do they have any assets? I would have liked to seen them trade Hollett to get that kind of guy instead of Bradley.

Is Moose Jaw the class of the conference if not league this year?

Oh yeah, the concert was great. I brought water too!


Anonymous said...

Completely amazed at the turnaround of the Riders. I'm starting to think they could actually finish 3rd in the West. That is the type of defense I have been waiting for since Jones arrived.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mitchell Blair said...

Thanks Patrick. Nice meeting you as well. I'm sure I'll probably run into you at the rink this winter.

Anonymous said...

nobody is the class of the league until they actually win something. MJ was supposed to be that until the choked in the playoffs.
Talk is cheap but until you actually win something like a pennant, division championship, conference championship etc. You get the picture! Just a note here; the Pats actually did that and were a hair from doing a lot more. Not many can say that.

The Pats are not as talented or deep as a year ago. Their defence is simply too small as a group with only one high end d-man. The injuries to Henry and Leschyshyn (not cleared yet) are a big concern, especially to getting off to a good start. Steel and Mahura are each likely to miss a bunch of games early so it's going to be tough. Even with everyone healthy and back, there still isn't enough talent. A couple of new guys look OK but they haven't played any WHL games yet. Paddock had better get on the trade wire ASAP and get some good deals done. They desperately need it.

Anonymous said...

Good to see people like you and Rod mentioning junior football unlike another sorry-ass radio station in this town that thinks they're better than they are.

Anonymous said...

Mr B Mitchell,
Ethan Bear, is he eligible for 2017/18 season as a overage player? Has he exhausted his WHL playing career? Would be great one season aquisition for Regina Pats if available and uninjured. Memorial Cup here on the line, Regina Saskatchewan. Go Pats Go!